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A Prescription For Unemployment? Recessions And The Demand For Mental Health Drugs

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  • W. David Bradford
  • William D. Lastrapes

Abstract

We estimate the relationship between mental health drug prescriptions and the level of labor market activity in the USA. Based on monthly data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey of physicians and aggregated by US census regions, we find that the number of mental health drug prescriptions (those aimed at alleviating depression and anxiety) rises by about 10% when employment falls by 1% and when unemployment rises by 100 basis points, but only for patients in the Northeast region. This paper is one of the first to look at compensatory health behavior in response to the business cycle. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • W. David Bradford & William D. Lastrapes, 2014. "A Prescription For Unemployment? Recessions And The Demand For Mental Health Drugs," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(11), pages 1301-1325, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:23:y:2014:i:11:p:1301-1325
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.2983
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kárpáti, Daniel & Renneboog, Luc, 2021. "Corporate Financing Frictions and Employee Mental Health," Other publications TiSEM 6ae43003-5b91-4aa8-9621-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Ezra Golberstein & Gilbert Gonzales & Ellen Meara, 2016. "Economic Conditions and Children's Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 22459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A. & Suziedelyte, Agne, 2017. "World Commodity Prices, Job Security and Health: Evidence from the Mining Industry," IZA Discussion Papers 11251, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2015. "Recessions, healthy no more?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 17-28.
    5. Marianne Page & Jessamyn Schaller & David Simon, 2019. "The Effects of Aggregate and Gender-Specific Labor Demand Shocks on Child Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(1), pages 37-78.
    6. Öztürk, Gamze & Yetkiner, Hakan & Özden, Elif, 2020. "Macroeconomic determinants of antidepressant use," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1394-1407.
    7. Pikos, Anna Katharina, 2018. "Work-related mental health problems increase with rising aggregate unemployment," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-639, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    8. Maclean, J. Catherine & Tello-Trillo, Sebastian & Webber, Douglas A., 2019. "Losing Insurance and Behavioral Health Hospitalizations: Evidence from a Large-Scale Medicaid Disenrollment," IZA Discussion Papers 12463, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. McInerney, Melissa & Mellor, Jennifer M. & Nicholas, Lauren Hersch, 2013. "Recession depression: Mental health effects of the 2008 stock market crash," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1090-1104.
    10. Ezra Golberstein & Gilbert Gonzales & Ellen Meara, 2019. "How do economic downturns affect the mental health of children? Evidence from the National Health Interview Survey," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(8), pages 955-970, August.
    11. Ayllón, Sara & Ferreira-Batista, Natalia N., 2018. "Unemployment, drugs and attitudes among European youth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 236-248.
    12. Kronenberg, Christoph & Boehnke, Jan R., 2019. "How did the 2008-11 financial crisis affect work-related common mental distress? Evidence from 393 workplaces in Great Britain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 193-200.
    13. Kárpáti, Daniel & Renneboog, Luc, 2021. "Corporate Financing Frictions and Employee Mental Health," Discussion Paper 2021-003, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    14. Irina B. Grafova & Alan C. Monheit & Rizie Kumar, 2020. "How do changes in income, employment and health insurance affect family mental health spending?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 239-263, March.
    15. Martin Bassols, Nicolau & Vall Castelló, Judit, 2016. "Effects of the great recession on drugs consumption in Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 103-116.
    16. Ayyagari, Padmaja & Shane, Dan M., 2015. "Does prescription drug coverage improve mental health? Evidence from Medicare Part D," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 46-58.

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